Thanksgiving comes once a year, but for my family and I, it has been a year in the making. Many of us prepare for our family traditions: the turkey, potatoes, cranberries, and pies. Maybe a trip to a new exciting city, the Nutcracker ballet, or perhaps, to visit loved ones far and near. Thanksgiving reminds us to gather those we love, hold them tight for a moment and remember what is truly lasting in our lives; the people we care for and love.
As I prepared on Monday to have Thanksgiving at my home the year before in 2010, my family traditions would be swept away, scattered. I was between tutoring sessions and picking up necessities for our feast when my mother called. "Could you stay until your dad gets home? Something is wrong...he's not speaking clearly and I'm worried." I hurried back to her home where she had been watching my children and upon my arrival I looked for my dad's truck. It wasn't there.
Last year, I wrote about the events of this day in my blog, 'The Mending Mind,' how my dad was miraculously found by paramedics in his truck, revived, and rushed to the hospital after suffering a massive AVM brain hemorrhage. When my family and I left that very early Tuesday morning, all we could hear were the words from his surgeon as each of us drove home in darkness, "If he survives, you have three critical days, if he survives."
Instead of preparing for our Thanksgiving traditions, we spent our next three days in shifts at the hospital in hopes and prayers that my dad would wake from stillness, as he was lifeless when he came back from surgery that night. That third day was Thanksgiving and as the hours and minutes past, each of my siblings and my mother came to and from my home and the hospital to visit him. Midnight came, and he was still breathing.
This past year became his recovery: regaining mobility, cognizance, memory, and speech. It has not been an easy year for him and my mother, yet is has brought us closer. The year anniversary marking the events of that week of Thanksgiving has come and as I reflect on those three days, I am immensely grateful. Christ has walked beside each of us and carried us through the process of recovery. My dad can walk and he remembers us. He lost part of his speech and cannot always say our names or name objects, however as a family, we have all worked together to try to find ways for understanding to take place. We love him where he is in his life and are blessed to have him alive and well.
As my family gathered around the table at my home this Thanksgiving, holding hands in prayer, we each had great joy of Thankfulness to our Lord who walked us through the fiery furnace safely. We were all together this year, each of us healthy and strong with the most delicious feast before us. As looked around the table at each of the faces of my precious family, I felt the warmth of our joy as a testimony to how God's unwavering love and faithfulness has answered each of our constant prayers this year. He even blessed us all with a trip to the Nutcracker ballet to watch my daughter dance in it. For my family and I, it has been an amazing year of Thanks Giving. May God bless you all and that your Thanksgiving celebrations were filled with wonderful gladness as well.